Engagement Shoots


I first fell in love with fine art film photography when I met my now dear friend Ashlee from Taylor Barnes Photography, just under four years ago. She persuaded me to take part in a bump shoot whilst pregnant with Flora, and the light filled beautifully posed images made my heart skip a beat.

Fast forward to last year when we collaborated on a styled shoot at Barnsley House & Spa in the Cotswolds, as part of a fine art photography and styling workshop with the Illuminated Collective – the talent shown by the attendees blew my mind. I had no idea we had so many home grown incredible film photographers based here in the UK, and I adored how different each of their images were too.

So, I thought I’d showcase some of those amazing artists here on the blog – I hand picked five incredible photographers for you to admire, and asked them to choose their favourite three photos from the workshop, along with their personal thoughts on why a real bride should book a fine art or film photographer…


Sarah Hannam Photography provides natural light, documentary wedding photography services throughout the UK and internationally.

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What does fine art photography mean to you?

Fine art photography is a combination of bringing all the details big and small together and creating a styled artistic aesthetic that brings cohesion to the whole wedding, as well as documenting the wedding day’s important moments. Fine art wedding photography is basically what you see in magazine spreads – it’s editorial, giving you a feel of the look of the day. Even within the genre of fine art photography, there are a lot of different styles. Some photographers go for very over-exposed, high contrast & heavily saturated colours or way out posing, but I prefer to keep things looking natural not only in terms of colour, but composition too. I suggest some informally choreographed poses for portraits but I limit it to what looks natural. For me, the most important thing is capturing a moment of real emotional connection.

Why should a couple choose a film photographer?

Film is wonderful for its softness on skin tones, luminosity and delicate colours, so lends itself perfectly to capturing weddings and portraits. Often digital images of a white wedding gown can overexpose and burn out the fine detail, which is not ideal if the bride wants to see that couture gown in all its beauty! Having your wedding shot on film is undoubtedly a luxury high end product, due to the unavoidable base costs, but with flattering tones and a timeless quality, in my opinion it is a wise investment and pretty trend proof, which is an important factor to consider. Clients can also feel reassured that their film photographer really knows their craft and can think on their feet, because there just isn’t the option to quickly view the LCD. Remember not so long ago the thrill of collecting your developed films and walking along the street excitedly looking at the prints? Maybe that’s just me but what is alarming today is that we hardly print off digital files and no longer enjoy the pleasure of holding a real photograph. This is why I always offer a full set of proof prints as well as a USB, so clients actually have a tangible product to keep and look at. I think it is so important to be able to have the physical photographs in your hands, plus sitting down looking through your wedding album in years to come with your children or grandchildren will mean so much more than searching through tens of thousands of files on your computer. After all the festivities are over, the only thing left you have of your wedding day are the photographs.

You can see more of Sarah’s images from the Illuminated Collective workshop on her blog here and here, and where they were featured on 100 Layer Cake


Devon based beautiful fine art wedding photography and family portraits.

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I chose these 3 images as I feel they sum up what the Illuminated Collective Workshop meant to me; beauty, elegant styling and warmth. Everything about the workshop was beautiful. The venue, the models, the detailing and the other attendees images from the day. The styling was simply stunning, as evident in the photos I have chosen. The weather on the day of the workshop was perfect; a warm sunny summer’s day which meant the light was perfect for late afternoon portraits in the grounds of Barnsley House. I just love the warm palette of corals and peaches in each of the images.

What does fine art photography mean to you?

Fine Art photography to me is all about capturing details, styling and romance. It’s about recording a moment through the eye of an artist, seeing things from a different view point and focussing on the little details that have been carefully chosen by the couple. My aim is to use natural light and soft tones to record those memories to cherish forever.

Why should a couple choose a film photographer?

I just adore film photography. The flattering skin tones, the use of natural light and the amazing palette of colours that film delivers are just simply stunning. When I look at images captured on film they remind me of impressionist paintings by great masters such as Claude Monet. The depth of colour is incredible. As a photographer I have to carefully compose each shot and I am more selective with what I photograph. I also have to think carefully about my camera settings to obtain correct exposure, so I am constantly learning and improving my own skills by using film.

You can see more of Renata’s images from the Illuminated Collective workshop on her blog here, and where they were featured on So You’re Getting Married.


Gloucestershire based fine art wedding photographers who travel the UK

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What does fine art photography mean to you?

Fine Art Photography means different things to different people; but overall, I think that it is photography shaped with the photographer’s artistic vision. Fine Art photographers do not simply document, but take part in the creation of an image, be it film or digital. Our vision of fine art photography is to capture moments filled with light, creating dreamy airiness and elegant simplicity. Every image we capture is special, and being able to participate, shaping beautiful moments into beautiful images is what the fine art ethos is all about. It takes a unique perspective, involves emotion and therefore every photographer, and every image is different. A fine art style helps create romantic, classic and timeless imagery, capturing the moments that make memories, and the individual details that bring everything together.

Why should a couple choose a film photographer?

Every wedding is special, unique and beautiful. When you choose your photographer, you want one that documents every aspect and truly captures the essence of you and your day. I think film is precious, and as a result, can capture precious moments. It’s creative, intimate and considered – capturing real emotion through thoughtful framing and beautiful colours. Film fits perfectly with a fine art style, documenting your moments of romance, joy and happiness; as a bride and groom you get beautiful shots that are delicate and real. It has a unique, soft look not found in digital with a real depth that brings images to life. To be able to shoot film well means understanding how to create and shape an image, film speed and light. Choosing a film photographer you can be confident they will be considered, caring and invested in creating timeless images for you, perfect to print for your album. You’ll get imagery conveying the emotion of your big day for years to come, every time you flick through the pages.

You can see more of Thomas’ images from the Illuminated Collective workshop here


London based fine art photographer specialising in beautiful artistic wedding & lifestyle portrait photography.

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What does fine art photography mean to you?

I believe fine art is a way of storytelling with artistic and beautiful photographs, using natural light, soft gentle colour tones and styled pretty details.  Fine art is often a story being told by putting all the small pieces together to create a comprehensive story with detail shots being just as important as the portraits. In my opinion, fine art photographers have more freedom to explore unlimited visual opportunities and include more of their personal expression when crafting their work.

Why should a couple choose a film photographer?

Film has a softer focus and a less then perfect quality that many people are growing to love or/and appreciate.  I adore the colour, dynamic range, grain and little imperfection film gives to my photographs. By using film I can create a soft romantic look to my work. I think being a film photographer has made me more aware and pushed me creatively, as well as giving me new perspective as a wedding photographer.  I personally feel a better photographer by incorporating film into my workflow.

You can see more of Claire’s images from the Illuminated Collective workshop here and where they were featured on Burnetts Boards


Wiltshire based fine art and film photographer specialising in weddings & equine portraits

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What does fine art photography mean to you?

Fine art photography to me is capturing even the simplest of detail and turning it into something beautiful; something you would expect to see on the pages of a magazine. When I’m shooting, I always look for the most beautiful light which can transform an ordinary image into something magical. I love to style every last detail, making sure nothing is missed and this helps me produce a coherent set of images with a very artistic feel to them. I concentrate on capturing real emotion. I do a few ‘posed’ shots throughout the day and even then, I only gently direct my couples. This is typically how a fine art photographer works- shooting with more of an editorial style.

Why should a couple choose a film photographer?

Film creates tones and colours that digital fails to capture which is the main reason I choose to shoot with this format. It also means I have to think more about each shot and this in turn has helped me develop my style further. I create soft, romantic imagery aimed at the modern day bride.

You can see more of Rachel’s photos from the Illuminated Collective workshop here.

Supplier & Vendor Credits:

Workshop: Illuminated Collective | Styling: Jessie Thomson Wedding and Events | Venue: Barnsley House | Florals: The Rose Shed | Linens: Table To Dine For | Stationery: Juliet Grace Design | Cake: The Natural Cake Company | Engagement dresses: Maids to Measure | Wedding gowns: Johanna Hehir | Hair Accessories: Kelly Spence | Jewellery: Astely Clarke | Tableware: Helene Millot | Make up: Nina Norman | Hair: Nicholas White

Engagement Shoots: A Lovely Love Story {Me and My Boy}

So a few weeks ago I agreed to take part in an engagement style shoot by my sweet friend Ashlee from Taylor Barnes Photography, she wanted to practice a style of photography using the beloved technique to evoke emotion, and she also wanted to shoot it all in film. Having been in front of the lens a few times now, I’ll say that this felt much less like a photo shoot and more like a personal experience, with a photographer there who just happened to capture the moments.

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I’m so delighted with the results from our session at this Cotswold Vineyard (also a gorgeous wedding venue and restaurant). You see one of my biggest regrets is that I never had an engagement shoot, or took enough time on my wedding day to have a few shots of just me and my new hubby. We were so excited and busy chatting to our friends that we didn’t notice the photographer being dragged into group family shots that we weren’t that bothered about, and we ran out of time. Don’t get me wrong, I love our official pics but I wanted some that really captured our love of one another for the grandchildren to look back at one day.

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It was so nice for us to get away from our busy lives for this sweet little shoot in a beautiful Cotswolds setting; what with work, family and home renovation .. we hardly ever get time to connect and just be in the company of one another. Ashlee totally stepped back and let us interact with each other without feeling posed or unnatural, she prompted us with the odd question and moved away to let us share a private moment each time. I loved it. I felt amazing afterwards, really back in tune with who we are as a couple.

After the shoot I asked Ashlee if she’d pen down a few thoughts for the blog about engagement shoots and couple sessions. So I’ll hand over to her now and hope you feel inspired…

vineyard engagement shoot

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Documenting your life is something that is hugely important to most people, you just have to glance at how many apps now focus on photography and videography – with Facebook and instagram being the most popular apps now available via our smart phones. So it always surprises me when my lovely couples choose not to have a couples session before (on an engagement session) or during their wedding day. 

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After further discussion many couples tell me that it’s because they are not a fan of having their own photograph taken, and others feel it may take up precious time that they would rather spend with their loved ones. I understand both of those objections. I understand that it can often feel nerve wracking being in front of the camera – but like most things practice makes perfect and what better way to practice than at an engagement session?

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I find them so useful as a way to get to know my clients better, learning how they work as individuals and how to photograph them in a way to reflect there personalities. That’s why I offer an engagement shoot free to any couple who book me to do their wedding as I feel its imperative to getting better photographs on the day.

So if you don’t feel comfortable in front of the camera do discuss that with your photographer, as it is our job as professionals to give you more confidence, make you feel comfortable and give you fond memories of your session. 

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Another thing to note is on your wedding day, is that without a doubt you will have spent a great deal of time and effort into making sure you look amazing! Every single bride I have ever met has been completely radiant, fresh faced and genuinely beautiful. All of these efforts deserve documenting!

The other objection I get to taking couple photographs on the day is that my bride and grooms are worried about too much time being taken out of the day away from their loved ones. This is something I completely agree with and would never want to encroach on, so I always aim to make a couple session as quick and succinct as posible. I work along side your wedding planner to find a time that would be most suitable for you both, and I spend as little as 10mins capturing those key shots (for couples who have an engagement shoot prior then this time is always considerably shorter).

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Its only on reflection that I believe a couple look back on their wedding photographs and really appreciate the time they put aside to have a few shots of them both. I have never had a couple say to me that they regretted having portrait shots of themselves, but every couple who I have worked with who have’t had them, have regretted not doing so.

When thinking about your wedding, remember that this is the start of your family, you are the roots of your family tree! Make sure you capture those memories, not just for now but for your children and grand children to come.

My grand parents wedding album is one of the things I have left of them being together and it was what inspired me to become a photographer myself.

xxx Love and Hugs xxx

Isn’t she talented? And oh so lovely? If you are looking for a wedding photographer who uses both real film and the beloved technique, then she’s your gal. She happens to have her own super pretty blog if you wanted to check that out for some extra inspiration too.

Have a lovely day.